By Linda Cameron
Parks, lake resorts and bike trails are opening as ski resorts close. Although still too chilly for the beach, the weather is warm enough for biking and hiking, and exploring the urban terrain while breathing fresh air in the wilderness. Local events and festivals commemorate and celebrate Minnesota’s history and diverse cultures. Don’t miss out on the fun activities happening locally this spring.
30 Days Of Biking
Dates: Through April 30
You don’t have to be a triathlete or bike racer to join this non-compete event. Everyday in April, everyday people will be biking to work, around the block, and beyond their neighborhoods for fun and spring fitness. If you’ve taken the 30-day bike pledge, just come as you are, even if your bike has training wheels or is a unicycle or tricycle. Fellow riders will be sharing their biking experiences on Twitter and other social media. It’s a non-distance challenge to benefit the non-profit World Bicycle Relief. This 30-day biking fundraiser also pauses for film screenings and refreshments. If you missed opening day, there are still a few more days to ride. Your boss will probably appreciate your arriving on time through a bike commute.
May Day Fests In Twin Cities
The beauty of May and the heroics of Cinco de Mayo are commemorated in a trio of celebrations on May 6 and 7. Festivities begin in St. Paul and move to Minneapolis. For two days, there will be music and dancing, contests, road shows and community activities. Although Cinco de Mayo celebrations continue after May 7, these three May Days are free:
Cinco de Mayo West Side St. Paul
429 Landmark Center
5th St., W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Date: May 6, 2017 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Festivities begin with a parade in honor of migrant farm worker and activist Cesar Chavez and continue until 6 p.m. with beer, food and live entertainment. There will also be a car, truck and bike show; a jalapeno eating contest; and an El Grito contest.
Cinco de Mayo Minneapolis
2709 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Date: May 7, 2017, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This South Minneapolis event celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over the French military during the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. There will be three stages of live entertainment (one on 27th Street, one inside El Nuevo Rodeo and one on Minnehaha Avenue), food vendors and beer gardens. While the event officially ends at 8 p.m., those looking to keep the party going can do so at the El Nuevo Rodeo.
In The Heart Of The Beast Puppet And Mask Theatre MayDay Fest
1500 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Date: May 7, 2017 from 11 a.m. until closing
At this annual May Day fest, the rites of spring are unmasked and the arts celebrated through live puppet theater. It begins with a ceremonial parade at 11 a.m. and is followed by the Tree of Life Ceremony at Powderhorn Park and the 43rd Annual MayDay Festival. Festival goers will enjoy food, drink, dancing, canoe rides and even poetry.
The 24 buildings in Montevideo replicate a late 19th century village. Sitting on 20 acres, the village is more of a Midwestern town for settlers than an actual Chippewa settlement. A bank, a general store, a millinery, a church, a law office, a fire station and various artifacts depict homesteader living in a 19th century Minnesota prairie town. The native Chippewa lived on the prairie in birch bark structures called wigwams, or in conical tents called tipis, usually made from buffalo hides. Still, a trip to this historic replicate city feels like a time travel worlds apart from the digital age.
Midwest Lindy Fest Riverboat Cruise
205 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55107
Date: May 4, 2017, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For a spring ritual, nothing beats a riverboat dance cruise on the mighty Mississippi. The party is a prelude to the Midwest Lindy Fest jazz and dance festival. By 6:30 p.m., passengers must be on board. At precisely 7 p.m., the cruise ship departs on a dance party journey. Better keep awake while on this cruise and don’t miss the boat.